2013: Michael J. Brien – Editor’s Note

From the 2013 issue.

Editorial Note
By Michael J. Brien

Thirty years.

A drop in the bucket when it comes to the universe’s nearly fourteen-billion year existence. Sister Miriam MacGillis, a cosmologist and Dominican sister, says that in a cosmological timeframe, the human race has been around for only a half-day. We are still infants pooping in our diapers. What can I say about a mere thirty years as a literary journal?

Neil Young in his recent memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, has this nugget I can look to. At sixty-five years old, he still reflects on his time at twenty-four when he began discovering, creating, saying, “I love to watch and try to guide what is happening, expanding the goals and reach of a project as it unfolds. Some people think that it is the wrong way to do things, but I think it is the true way to discover. Each tangent offers new possibilities for exploration and discovery. A job is never truly finished. It just reaches a stage where it can be left on its own for a while.”

At thirty years, Amoskeag continues the job of exploration and discovery.This 30th Anniversary Issue represents first time authors along with Pushcart Prize nominees, presenting works of survival, nostalgia, hope, hurt, grief and redemption—an abundance of what Robert Begiebing, Amoskeag’s first editor under the auspices of The New Hampshire College Journal, referred to as“labors of love.” Robert Begiebing went on to comment on his own work that “at a certain point in such focused labor, you understand once again that the vital exercise of the imagination is one kind of exhalation that is its own excuse and reward, the proper function, the reason for being of that mysterious organ of the mind.”

The word “amoskeag” comes from the Penacook dialect meaning a “place of many fish.” It was also the place where at fourteen years old, Frederic C. DuMaine began his life with the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company as a messenger boy watching salmon leap up the falls of the Merrimack River. That was in the 1880s nearly fifty years after the company had first incorporated. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company had learned to rein in the power of those falls to work in favor of the mills in a dynamic textile industry that would last 105 years.

At thirty years, Amoskeag continues the job of harnessing the dynamism of language and insight to the vision of both Native Americans and Yankee Industrialists. We continue to live up to Frederic C. Dumaine’s “Twelve Rules of Money, Success, Love and Happiness”:

Rule 3 – The best book, song, poem or play has not been written yet.

Rule 12 – Change is the most permanent thing in life. Welcome it; do not hold back from it. There is nothing fixed or stationary in life.

Whew, boy! Here we go.

Michael J. Brien, MFA


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